The Ultimate Guide to Optical Illusions

Posted: 7/27/2009

Optical illusions have long piqued the curiosity of many. How is it that something appears to be there when, in fact, it is not? Why do two people look at the very same image and come away with distinctly different perceptions? The main reason for the variances in perception lie in the eye. The human eye is a unique organ. When the eye is presented with light, the light is channeled through the cornea and lens, finally landing upon the retina. The retina then processes the light fragments using cone cells and rod cells. This information is then transmitted via the optic nerve to the brain.

The brain and the eye work together to form the image that is seen. A variety of circumstances will play a part of the perception amongst various people. Brightness, contrast, color, distance, and angle are a large part of that equation. Psychology has a hand in perception as well. A person's brain is conditioned to a particular way of thinking and this contributes to the outcome of personal conceptualization.

Many optical illusions are formed from ambiguous images, color contrasting, or the relativity of lines (particularly if occluders are used within or surrounding an image). Artists, doctors, and theorists have spent hours upon hours studying optical illusions and the way that they are perceived by people of varying genders, backgrounds and cultures. The outcome is that the image perceived is not only of matter, but of mind as well. Perception can vary extraordinarily among people, even when the conditions (distance, lighting, angle) in which they are viewing the image are controlled.

Optical illusions will continue to intrigue throughout time. In a sense, they hold a mystery that begs to be deciphered. Humans are naturally curious, and as such, they will continue to seek new knowledge, new ways of learning that knowledge, and new subjects for which knowledge needs to be obtained. Illusions provide the perfect medium in which people can explore depth sensing, optical reception, culture conditioning, and a variety of other curious aspects of human nature.


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